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Nun’s Education and Conduct in Modern Times

On October 18th, 2008, His Holiness the Gyalwang Karmapa was invited to preside over the second all-night debate session of the fourteenth Jamyang Guncho for nuns, which was held at Jamyang Choling Institute in Dharamsala. Over two hundred nuns from seven different nunneries were present. The following presents the main points of the remarks which His Holiness gave on that occasion.

These days many friends from abroad with a modern viewpoint are giving help and direction to Tibetan nuns and laywomen and I would like to thank them for their help. But I think we need to begin from within our own Tibetan society to find a particular Tibetan way of being modern. The reason for this is that other viewpoints and Tibetan culture are sometimes incompatible, and as Tibetan culture is already endangered, insisting too strongly on imposing other ways of doing things could very well weaken what we are working hard to preserve.

There are quotations in the scriptures and treatises which say that ordaining women as nuns will make the Buddhist teachings disappear five hundred years earlier than otherwise. Some people cite these passages to scare you. Others try to explain them away, saying they should not be taken literally. In any case, I don’t think it is necessary to do either. The reason is Read the rest of this article

26th Kagyu Monlam at a Glance

Aspiration:

A drop of water which falls into a great ocean will neither be exhausted nor cease to exist until the end of the universe. Likewise, a virtuous root dedicated toward attaining enlightenment will neither be exhausted nor cease to exist until you reach perfect enlightenment.
– The Sutra spoken by Noble Inexhaustible Intelligence

The International Kagyu Monlam is an eight day Buddhist prayer festival held annually in Bodhgaya, the place of Buddha’s enlightenment. His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, head of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism, presides over the festival, supported by many leading Rinpoches from the Kagyu tradition, including H.E. Jamgon Kongtrul Rinpoche, H.E. Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche, Ven. Zurmang Garwang Rinpoche, Ven. Kalu Rinpoche, Ven. Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche and Ven. Mingyur Rinpoche. Read more

The First Day of Gyalwang Karmapa’s Lineage Practice Teachings

Wednesday 31st December, 2008

These teachings, sponsored and organized by the Hwa-Yue Foundation from Taiwan, are the third in a series of teachings entitled: Lineage Practice Teachings. More than one thousand five hundred people filled the main assembly hall at Tergar Monastery to listen to His Holiness deliver the teachings in a mixture of Tibetan and Chinese. Chinese devotees from Taiwan and Hong Kong formed the majority of the audience. However, there were also disciples from the Americas, from Europe and from other Asian countries including Korea, Vietnam and Malaysia.

The morning and afternoon sessions began with prayers in Chinese, accompanied by traditional Chinese instruments – a wooden bell beaten to keep time, and a bronze bell. At the morning session, representatives from the audience prostrated along with the Gyalwang Karmapa.

His Holiness’ theme was teacher and student. He began by joking that these teachings, and the ‘English’ ones which would follow Monlam, were as much a test of his burgeoning linguistic skills as of his dharma knowledge and experience. He then congratulated the audience on attending the teachings in spite of the Read the rest of this article

Third Session of Gyalwang Karmapa’s Teaching on Madhyamika

Wednesday 17th December, 2008

Madhyamika is noted as being a very difficult area of study, yet, each day, the number of people attending the teaching has grown, and this prompted His Holiness to tell a funny story. Looking around the large assembly hall at Tergar, he told how a Geshe had gone abroad to deliver a teaching on the Middle Way approach. The first day there was a good number of people present. The following day there were fewer, and this continued until the final day, when the Geshe found himself addressing an empty room. His Holiness concluded that this was definitely not the case at Tergar.

Gyalwang Karmapa began by relating the life of Aryadeva, comparing the Chinese and Tibetan versions of his life story. Aryadeva is famous for his “400 Verses”, and for his skills in debating with non-Buddhists. According to some sources, he came from a royal family in Sri Lanka, studied with Nagarjuna in South India, and became his direct disciple.

His Holiness then returned to the previous day’s discussion of what it means when the Middle Way school says it does not make any assertions of its own while making assertions in others’ frames of reference . Read the rest of this article

Two Talks on the Preliminary Practices (Ngondro)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, Ogyen Drodul Trinley Dorje, today gave two public teachings on “Building a Strong Foundation for Spiritual Practice” to an audience of approximately 3,000 at Seattle’s famous Paramount Theater. The topic of the teachings was the preliminary practices of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness taught on the four preliminary practices of refuge and bodhichitta, Vajrasattva, mandala offerings, and guru yoga. In the evening, His Holiness granted an audience to a large group of representatives and members of the organizing sanghas whose volunteer efforts helped to make his first visit to the United States possible. Read the rest of this article